Kentucky Youth Advocates is serious when we assert a vision to “make Kentucky the best place in America to be young.” And yet, we know that vision is elusive as long as a child’s skin color still shapes their opportunity to thrive. And we know that is still true in Kentucky.

The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery deserve condemnation by anyone with a heart and a brain.

And yet as tragic as those headlines are, we cannot get lost only in the moment. We hope those national sins and the protests they engendered will propel us as a state and a nation to confront the systemic racism that maims, harms, and – all too often – literally kills Americans of color.

Systemic racism touches every aspect of what it means for a little boy or a little girl of color to grow up in Kentucky. Whether it is the justice system or child welfare, educational achievement or health outcomes, economic well-being or safety, racism steals potential from families and children of color.

Every Kentucky child deserves to grow up healthy, safe, and hopeful; we cannot move forward without valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion and honoring those as commitments.

Kentucky Youth Advocates renews its dedication to every child in the Commonwealth by committing to focus on the impact of systemic racism on public policy and listening and learning from people in impacted communities. We invite you to join us to learn, to listen, and to transform systems so we can ensure every chance for every one of us.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar concluded his recent op-ed in The Los Angeles Times by asserting that, “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”

Let us all do our part to clean the air in the Commonwealth, and across the nation, from the stench of racism for the future – and present – of each and every child.


About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at